We Get To Decide

Just a quick reminder this week, that we get to choose how we respond to events in our life. 

It’s easy to think that we can’t help ourselves, or to blame others (or our emotions) for how we respond to the stimulus in our life.  While we can blame, the truth is, we get to decide how we respond.

Let’s decide, and then follow through, on making good choices. 


Challenging But Worth It

I’m going to talk about one of Jesus’s principles this week, so be warned.  If that’s not your thing, come back next week.  😊

“If you only love the loveable, do you expect a pat on the back?” Luke 6:30 Msg.

It’s easy to love those who love, us, or to be kind to people who are kind to us.  However, Jesus teaches that we’re also to be kind to those who aren’t kind to us.  And to love those who don’t love us.  This is challenging teaching.  It’s even more challenging to put into practice.

I’ve had the “opportunity” to put this teaching into practice with a couple of people for the past 11 months.  It has, indeed, been challenging, but I can also report that with prayer and commitment to Jesus’s teaching, it has gotten a little easier.  Not easy, just slightly easier that it was 11 months ago.

Jesus’s teaching is for our benefit, because he wants what’s best for us.  Following this particular principle has kept my heart from festering with disdain or hate toward others, and has instead caused me to regularly cast my gaze toward Jesus for his assistance, strength, and peace.  All of which I have received.

So, while it’s been challenging, I can also report that it’s been what’s best for me.  I have peace instead of anger, and gratitude for His teaching instead of animosity toward others.

It’s a nice place to be.

Lift Or Limit

As I was journaling this morning, I was reminded how our self-talk can limit or lift how we see ourselves.  Think about that, the words you tell yourself, about yourself (whether audibly or simply thought), have a direct impact on how you feel and think about who you are.

Taking this thought a little further, what we think/feel, about ourselves, will influence our actions.  And, the actions we consistently take are what shapes the lives we ultimately build for ourselves.

The question that feels like it needs to be asked is, “Do you like what you’ve built?” 

If your answer is, “Yes”, great!  However, if your answer is, “No”, it might be reflecting on you’ve talking to yourself to discern if there’s any negative thoughts or talk you’ve regularly had with yourself.

It might even be time to start a new, positive conversation with yourself… because you’re worth it.

Plan For It

Several years ago, my wife and I opened a savings account and titled it, “Travel”.  It’s where we regularly save money for the sole purpose of traveling.  Not only does having this account show that we prioritize traveling and getting away together, it gives is the freedom to go somewhere on short notice, or add a day or two to our existing plans.  It’s given us the freedom, as well as the encouragement, got travel.

If something is important to us, we need to plan and execute to make it happen.  Whether it’s setting aside time, money, or some other resource, our planning and execution shows our true level of commitment.  If we say we want to do/have/become/change something, yet we haven’t taken any steps to bring it about, that may tell us quite a bit about how committed we actually are.

Is there something you want to do/have/become/change?  If so, begin planning for it.  Then, follow up on those plans with specific action.  That “something” awaits.

A Quick Shoutout To Public Libraries

I love the idea that there’s a place in my town where I can walk in, grab as many books as I want, and borrow them for several weeks at a time.  From this same place, I can borrow audio books, guitars, and ukuleles as well!  From a self-improvement standpoint, I can think of no place more beneficial than your local public library.

If you love to read and/or consider yourself a life-long-learner, I suggest (if you aren’t already) to make frequent visits your public library. 

What a blessing to have such a wonderful gateway to learning right in our own towns!

Take A Closer Look

Last night after work my wife and I went to the national wildlife refuge by our house to look at the birds in the area.  (There is a nesting pair of bald eagles that has been cool to see!)  At first glance, when we pulled up to the big duck ponds, it appeared that they were full of the regular birds you see all the time.  After a closer look, that turned out not to be the case.

As we combed through the crowd of ducks with the binoculars, we started noticing out-of-the-ordinary birds we hadn’t seen before were also part of the mix.  We saw a Green Winged Teal, a Cinnamon Teal, and a Ringed Neck duck.  It was amazing to me how much variety there was hidden within the crowd.

That experience got me thinking that it’s probably a lot like that with how we see the world around us.  Do we see all the negative things happening, or are we on the lookout for the good being done.  Are we on focused on just what’s popular and mainstream, or are we looking at other forms of music, film, literature, people, food, and experiences? 

There’s a lot of different and interesting things in the world that can be easily missed, unless we slow down and take are time to have a closer look.

Before You Say No

My cousins were in town this week, and Thursday evening one of them text me to see if I’d be available for lunch on Friday.  My first thought was that I would be working that day.  After about 2 seconds I said, “Lunch sounds great!”  We all had a great time.

I share that little story as a reminder not to be too quick to say, “No”.  We can always find reasons not to do something, but we can just as well find reasons to engage, especially when it has to do with building relationships. 

In 10 years, I won’t remember what I would have done at work for those couple of hour, if I had said “No” to lunch with my cousins.  However, I’ll never forget the time we had.

I made a good choice!

Grateful For The Example

I was listening to a podcast recently about the book, “Up From Slavery” by Booker T. Washington.  The positive attitude Mr. Washington possessed, both during and after facing terrible social injustices, blew me away.  I’ve since gone to the library and checked out this book so I can read it for myself.

Based on a few of excerpts from the book, that were read on the podcast, I was struck with how Washington chose positivity, focus, and growth, when he could have easily chosen bitterness, anger, and apathy.  Regardless of what happened to him that was outside of his control, he was focused on becoming a certain type of person.  Excuses were shattered by him, and circumstances were simply part of the landscape he had to navigate to get where he wanted to go.  Quite simply, the guy was remarkable.

Washington reminds me that if he can become a positive man of character, in spite of all the roadblocks and injustices he’s faced, then what excuse do I have not to do likewise?  I’m grateful his example.      

Ask For Help

Here’s a simple thought that can yield significant results:  when you’re stuck, ask for help.

Whether it’s a problem you’ve got that you’re trying to solve, some expertise you need that you don’t have, or wisdom you lack that you need, seek help from those who have the knowledge you do not.

Why should we spin our wheels trying to solve something when we don’t have to?

Follow Through On Intentions

I was really impressed with something our pastor did in church last Sunday.  As I was reflecting on it later in the day I thought, “I should send him a hand-written note and tell him how much I appreciated what he did.”  That’s a good intention.  However, as the week got busier, I could feel my intention slipping to the back burner toward inaction.  If I didn’t do something, the likelihood that this intention would ever bloom into realized action, was not looking good.

So last night I just decided (and actually followed through) that I was not going to do anything else until I got the note written and put it in an addressed envelope with a stamp.  As I type this, the note is in the care of the USPS and on its way to the recipient. 

When we have a good intention, we should honor that intention by taking the necessary action to bring it to life.  Not only will be feel good about following through on our good intention, we’ll hopefully be blessing someone else as well.